Once they venture below the surface of the water, divers find themselves in a whole different world: magnificent and alluring, yet at the same time alien and hostile, and only with proper training and equipment can they explore this world safely.
This is especially the case for divers who choose to explore underwater caves: although the limited space and the possibility of losing their way present tough challenges, the spectacular views and experiences are particularly rewarding.
So let’s take a look at the underwater caves most deserving of a visit at least once in a lifetime.
The Great Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole off the coast of Belize, 300 metres across and 123 metres deep. In this stretch of the Caribbean, divers can admire underwater caves and stalactites, as well as spectacular tropical sea creatures such as sharks and giant groupers. The area is also rich in coral, and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Off the coast of nearby Mexico is Dos Ojos, one of the longest flooded cave systems in the world, featuring a wealth of stalagmites and stalactites; the area is also home to an impressive variety of wildlife, both under the water – with crayfish and a large variety of small fish – and above it, with bats hanging from the roof of the caves. The name, Dos Ojos, is Spanish for “two eyes”, a reference to the two main bodies of water.
From Central America, it’s now time to head for Europe, starting with the Grotta Azzurra, or Blue Grotto, in Italy. This natural formation can be found on the island of Capri, and according to historians, it was used by the Emperor Tiberius as his personal swimming pool. It is famous for the soft, bluish tinge created by the sun’s rays on the surface of the water and the walls of the grotto, offering the impression of swimming in the light, and divers can also admire the natural rock formations.
In Russia, we have the Orda Cave, the largest underwater gypsum cave in the world, at almost 5 kilometres long, with huge tunnels standing out against the crystal-clear waters. The Russian climate requires some attention, however, because the water temperature can be close to freezing point.
Continuing eastwards, we come to the Maldives, a very popular destination with divers worldwide. Its many attractions include the Kuredu Caves, with over 60 sites for diving, striking rock formations and a wealth of sea creatures, including green turtles, blowfish, eels, manta rays and barracudas.
In Micronesia, and specifically in Palau, is the Chandelier Cave, which takes its name from the thick forest of stalactites that hang from the ceiling like chandeliers. The clear water that flows through this system of five interconnected caves is home to numerous sea creatures; the passages are very narrow, however, so great care and steady nerves are a must.
In support of underwater cave exploration, the right equipment is just as important as the preparation of the diver.
Suex has always accompanied divers with a passion for the sea and the desire to explore all its secrets, and our Underwater DPVs, now available in four exclusive colours, are ideal for conducting dives safely, and with our DRIVE navigation system, divers always know where they’re headed, even right down in the bowels of a cave.